PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eight Pennsylvania cities cracked U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 top 125 places to live in the United States. Philadelphia, however, came much lower than one might have suspected.
Philadelphia ranked 102 out of 125 metropolitan areas, the lowest Pennsylvania city on the list. The main contributing factor behind Philly ranking lower than, say, Reading, is affordability, U.S. News & World Report Real Estate editor Devon Thorsby told Eyewitness News.
“With the smaller metro areas, money can go a little bit farther,” Thorsby said. “You’re more likely to see residents reporting their well-being a little bit higher.”
Thorsby also added that with major cities such as Philadelphia and New York City, which ranked 90th, there are two factors to consider.
Big cities have some of the richest people in the country with the highest-paying jobs. But they also have some of the nation’s poorest.
“The smaller metro areas have a little bit more of a middle ground,” Thorsby said.
Philly’s best score came in the job market field, ranking 33rd overall. Its median annual salary ($55,000) is above the national median ($50,620). Some areas that brought its score down were unemployment rates, longer morning commute times and higher property taxes.
According to the report, Philly residents spend 24.63% of the city’s median income on housing, which is significantly more than the most affordable metro area to live – Huntsville, Alabama, at 19.3%.
Harrisburg ranked the highest among Pennsylvania cities at No. 44 with its highest score being housing and affordability.
Residents in Harrisburg spend less than 22% of their median annual household income on housing, the report said.
“They’re able to keep more money in their pocket, able to use it for other things,” Thorsby said, “it just makes living in the Harrisburg area a little bit easier.”
Lancaster (No. 48), Pittsburgh (No. 50), Reading (No. 84), York (No. 87), Allentown (No. 93) and Scranton (No. 98) rounded out the list.
No cities from New Jersey or Delaware made the list because the magazine used the U.S. Census Bureau’s determination of metropolitan statistical areas, per Thorsby. Instead, cities from those states were lumped into either Philadelphia or New York City.
For example, Wilmington, Delaware, was factored into Philly. Parts of New Jersey were considered Philly, others were considered New York.
Thorsby said that Pennsylvania compares well compared to other cities in the Northeast simply because of the state’s size.
“There’s a lot of ability to go back and forth if people are looking to move to a state like Pennsylvania,” Thorsby said. “They have a lot of options within the state to look at where their priorities lay.”
U.S. News & World Report weighed a variety of factors in ranking the top 125 places to live based on a survey of about 2,000 people. Some of the factors included job market, affordability, quality of life, education and even the average morning commute time.
Here are the top Pennsylvania cities to live, in order:
You can see the magazine’s full list of best places to live by clicking here.